H.M.A.S. PsychePrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by John Huth

A monument commemorates HMAS Psyche for her service during World War One. 

HMAS Psyche was a Pelorus-class light cruiser built for the Royal Navy at the end of the 19th century. Initially operating on the North America and West Indies Station, the cruiser was transferred to the Australian Squadron in 1903, and remained there until the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) took over responsibility in 1913. After a stint in New Zealand waters and involvement in the occupation of German Samoa, Psyche was paid off in 1915.

At the recommendation of the Australian government, the ship was commissioned into the RAN in 1915, and assigned to patrol the coast of Burma, in response to the threat of a German-instigated uprising. Psyche operated in the Bay of Bengal and around Sumatra until 1916, when she was docked at Hong Kong for refit. During this, personnel from the ship were used to commission and man the river gunboat HMS Moorhen. After the refit's conclusion, Psyche patrolled in Chinese waters, before returning to the Bay of Bengal. Psyche returned to Sydney and was paid off in October 1917, but recommissioned a month later for patrols in Australia's northern waters. She was decommissioned for the final time in early 1918. 

In 1940, a typhoon-like storm flipped the large cruiser, to its side, eventually sinking to its final resting place in the bay between Corlette Point and Salamander Bay near Port Stephens. The 95 metre long lightweight cruiser, lies 4.2 metres below sea level on the bottom of the Bay about 200 metres off Roy Wood Reserve at Corlette. 


Address:Sandy Point Road & Foreshore Drive , Corlette , Corlette, 2315
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.725162
Long: 152.103731
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Conflict
Actual Event STart Date:04-August-1914
Actual Event End Date:28-June-1919


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 27th June, 2015
Left Side Inscription

HMS / HMAS Psyche
(The forgotten cruiser)

Commissioned in 1899 as a light cruiser, HMS Psyche served with the Royal Navy on the Australian Station prior to the First World War.  Following the outbreak of the war in August 1914, she took part in the operations to capture Germany`s Pacific colonies, and undertook escort dutires.  Returning to Australian waters HMS Psyche was laid up in Sydney in late 1914.

In July 1915, Psyche was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy and was ordered to the Bay of Bengal.  Based at Rangoon in Burma (now Myanmar), she carried out routine patrols along the Burma coast and Malay Archipeligo.  In June 1916 she was redeployed to Hong Kong to patrol off the south coast of China and Indo-China (South-East Asia).  HMAS Psyche retuned to the Bay of Bengal in October 1916 and continue patrol work until she was recalled to Australia in September 1917.

She was engaged in patrol work off the eastern Australian coast in November 1917 and remained a commissioned vessel of the Royal Australian Navy until March 1918.

Psyche was sold to the Moreland Metal Company on 21 July 1922 who used her as a timber lighter.  Psyche sank on Monday December 8 1924 during a storm in Salamander Bay at a position of 32º 43.194` south and 152º 05.445 east (degrees, decimal minutes).  

Although HMAS Psyche did not participate in any major action during her time in the RAN, she should always be remembered as being one of the first ships of the Royal Australian Navy.

For more information on HMAS Psyche go to http://www.navy.gov.au/history/feature-histories/hmas-psyche-forgotten-cruiser


Right Side Inscription
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
Proudly sponsored by UBC Web Design
Class and type Pelorus class light cruiser
Displacement 2,169 tonnes (2,135 UK tons)
Length 95.6 m (313.5 feet)
Beam 11.2 m (36 feet 9 inches)
Draught 5.18 m (17 feet)
Propulsion 16 water tube boilers feeding 2 x inverted 3 cylinder triple expansion steam engines, 5,200 kw (7,000 indicated hp), driving two screws.
Speed 20.5 knots (37 kph)
Complement 230
Armament 8 x single QF 100mm (4 inch) guns
8 x single QF 3 pounder (1.4kg) guns
2 x 119 mm (4.7 inch) guns
2 x field guns
3 X Maxim machine guns
2 x 356 mm (14 inch) torpedo tubes
Armour Deck : 50 mm (2 inch)
Conning tower : 76 mm (3 inch)
Builder H M Devonport Dockyard
Laid down 15 November 1897
Launched 19 July 1898
Commissioned (Royal Navy) 2 May 1899
Decommissioned 22 January 1915
Honours and awards One inherited battle honour
Acquired by the Royal Australian Navy 1 July 1915
Commissioned (Royal Australian Navy) 1 July 1915